The All Africa Students Union (AASU), in a statement to mark International Literacy Day, has underscored the need for Africa to double whatever efforts it has undertaken before and now to break the shackle of underdevelopment, with genuine commitments, selflessness and hard work.
According to the statement, it is estimated that 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out of school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.
It said though South and West Asia had the lowest regional adult literacy rate (58.7 per cent) in the world, countries with the lowest literacy rates are in Africa, according to UNESCO’s “Global Monitoring Report on Education for all (2006)”. These countries are all in West Africa and include Burkina Faso (12.8 per cent), Niger (14.4 per cent) and Mali (19 per cent).
It added that Africa’s current education predicaments were linked to many factors. First, the education systems inherited from the colonial powers that were designed for the formal sector and public administration, making them exclusive in their interests, have not been fundamentally reformed and adapted to our own needs and interests till today. Second, education participation rates are low in many African countries and schools often lack many basic facilities and third, African universities, not being in line with increasing students’ intake, suffer from overcrowding and many staff being enticed by high pay and better conditions offered by Western countries migrate to those countries.